Teachers: Go Back to School, In Your Own Building!

In this golden age of global communication and collaboration I sometimes forget that I teach in a very small district (except of course during gloomy budget meetings), with really great people. On Friday I did something that I have been meaning to do for a long time, but have continued to put off for one reason or another, I attended a class right in my own building. During my planning period I asked if I could sit in on a class that my neighbor, Mr. Sherwood was teaching about economics. Mr. Sherwood was very hospitable and enthusiastic about me sitting in and immediately the students took notice of my presence. It was great for me to see different content and teaching styles. This experience was so positive that I plan to attend at least on class per week if my fellow teachers will allow me to. I will even do the coursework when I can. Maybe I will learn even more than I intended to.

Here are the benefits as I see them:

  • You get to see what other teachers are teaching, and how they are teaching it.
  • You get to build closer relationships with your colleagues.
  • You can help your colleagues by offering possible technologies they could integrate.
  • You model lifelong learning for students.

Here are some possible pratfalls to avoid:

  • Don’t over participate. After all the students are there for a grade. Contribute to the lesson when it is appropriate.
  • Be careful about offering too much advice to colleagues. Here is where you are going to have to feel the situation out. The real purpose here is to build better relationships with your fellow teachers, not to make them do it your way.

Be sure to thank whoever it was that let you participate, and then follow up with them at another time, and then don’t look now but you are talking about pedagogy. So I challenge each of you to try to do the same. If you have already done this, or if you plan to please share your experiences.

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4 thoughts on “Teachers: Go Back to School, In Your Own Building!

  1. ktenkely says:

    Visiting other classrooms is one of my favorite things to do. It is a neat way to connect to teachers and can provide excellent inspiration and growth in your own classroom.  I only wish that schools encouraged, and provided more time to do this on a regular basis.  Who better to learn from than each other?

  2. Mike says:

    What is interesting about this idea is that you will easilybe able to know about the culture of your school based on the teachers reactions to them coming to your room to observe you.  Hopefully all your teachesr in your building will be as welcoming as Mr. Sherwood.

    I know of a Principal that when he goes through walkthroughs he brings  a teacher on their planning period with him.

  3. Todd Wandio says:

    I love visiting other classrooms as well.  Sadly, I teach in a very isolated location, a storefront school, so I don’t have the opportunity anymore.  I use instead the blogoshpere to connect me to what other teachers are doing.  I hope that my administration recognizes the isolation of outreach teachers, and puts time into their schedules to collaborate more often.

  4. We often forget to look right next to us for expertise and to learn!  I think we sometimes take those nearest to us for granted – I know I am sometimes surprised about things my colleagues are doing, just because I haven’t taken time to ask and learn from them.  Great idea for educators at many different levels.

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